Mumbai, June 16 (IANS) Fifteen Hindu students were among 350 awarded academic scholarships by a Muslim NGO, Jamiat Ulama-e-Maharashtra (Arshad Madani) here Sunday.
Awarding the scholarships, Maulana Azad Financial Corporation (MAFC) chairman Amin Patel said that education is the only solution for the upliftment of Muslims who are even more backward than the Backward Classes, as described by the Sachar Committee in its report of 2006.
JUEM-AM legal aid cell chief Gulzar Azmi said this is the fourth year since the NGO has been giving scholarships to non-Muslim students. The scholarship amounts range between Rs.1,000-Rs.10,000, and is usually sufficient to cover school fees.
“This year, we disbursed around two million rupees to needy students studying in Class VI to Junior College, Class XII. The figure of scholarships awarded also keeps on increasing depending on the number of applications we get every year,” Azmi said.
JUEM-AM president Maulana M. Ahsan Azmi said that since its inception in 1919, the NGO has shied away from making any kind of religious discrimination while helping the society.
“During the pre-Independence era, we fought the British and the advocates of a separate Pakistan. Now, we are present around the country to provide emergency assistance to anybody, whether Muslim or non-Muslim,” Maulana Azmi said.
“There are many secular trusts and NGOs which readily provide help to needy Muslim students in the country. In its humble way, the JUEM-AM attempts to reciprocate the noble gesture,” he added.
The JUEM-AM is also at the forefront of providing free legal aid to over 300 innocent Muslims who have been arrested for alleged involvement in terrorist incidents around the country.
After studying in-depth the case of the victims, its panel of lawyers fights for them and secures their release on bail or acquittal.
One such prominent case was the 26/11 terror attack co-accused Faheem Ansari, who was acquitted after his case was fought by the JUEM-AM legal team, and some others accused in the Malegaon 2006 blasts case.